Q&A: how do I move data from Access onto my Mac?

Via the open question thread:

I'm about to buy a Macbook as my main computer. But I also use Access a lot, especially the mail-merge function (Word/Access). I've read your comments in MacRumors about the likelihood of Microsoft creating Access for Macintosh. What do you recommend instead?

It depends on what you're doing with Access. If mail merge is your most important task, then you can likely accomplish the same thing with Word and Excel. Excel 2008 can handle workbooks of up to 1 million rows and 16,000 columns (it's slightly bigger than 16k, but I can't remember the exact number since it's not a power of two). You could also move your address data into Entourage, and do a mail merge from there. For more information about how to do a mail merge in Word:Mac 2008, start with our help topic create a data source for a mail merge, which has links to creating form letters, mailing labels, and envelopes via mail merge.

For other database needs, depending on how big your databases are and what you're doing with them, you might find that either Bento or FileMaker will meet your needs. Bento is more for consumer needs, whereas FileMaker is good for business needs.

Alternately, you could use Boot Camp to dual-boot your Mac into Windows, or run a virtualisation application like VMWare so that you have access to Windows. Then you can run Access on your Mac for the times when you need it. This makes the most sense if you have a lot of big databases and you use Access frequently.

Comments (3)
  1. Rudy says:

    Since you’ve offered Entourage as one solution for transfer of this person’s Access data, should we assume that there will be a clean migration path of Entourage address data to Outlook once that becomes available with the next version? I would hate to have this person spend a lot of time moving data to Entourage only to find a lot more time needed down the road once Outlook becomes available.

  2. Yes, you will be able to migrate your Entourage data, including addresses, into Outlook:Mac.  We’re not going to leave our existing user base without a migration path. 🙂

  3. NathanHerring says:

    I have not tried this, but instead of using a pure virtualization option like VMWare or Parallels, there’s at least one emulation option — CrossOver for Mac. http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxmac/ Its support for Access 2000 is "Bronze", but apparently it runs directly on OS X.

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